Pressures on EPO: now Europe’s largest trade union squeezes Euro Patent Office’s pips

Council of Europe and trade bosses have had enough of King Battistelli !

Pressure is continuing to build on the European Patent Office (EPO) over its treatment of staff and continued refusal to accept the results of an independent tribunal.

This week, Europe’s largest trade union, the Union Syndicale Fédérale (USF) wrote to all 38 members of the EPO’s Administrative Council noting its “great concern” at recent “extreme” EPO management actions that point to “fundamental flaws in the institutional setup of the EPO.”

The letter [PDF] notes that the situation at the EPO – where staff have been hounded and fired and then been ignored when they have taken their cases to an independent tribunal and won – is now being actively discussed in other European institutions, including the Council of Europe.

“USF wishes to draw your attention to an important ongoing debate between organs of the Council of Europe,” the letter notes. “The debates in Strasbourg focused on the issues of strengthening the legal system of international organizations and of the strict limitation of activities covered by their immunity of jurisdiction.”

That is a reference to the fact that the EPO was recently and repeatedly castigated by the International Labor Organization (ILO) for its treatment of a former Boards of Appeals judge who had had the temerity to criticize EPO president Benoit Battistelli.

Having spent two years wrongly suspended, the ILO found that Patrick Corcoran has been wrongly dismissed and ordered his immediate reinstatement as well as an award of tens of thousands of euros in compensation and damages.

By Kieren McCarthy in San Francisco,